This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #135 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was system.

Topics

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence. When Canadian Forces personnel took prisoners in Bosnia, they sent a significant incident report to the National Defence Headquarters Operation Centre within 24 hours. We have been informed that this procedure is still in place. According to this, the minister would have been aware within 24 hours that Canadians had taken al-Qaeda prisoners.

Why did the minister not inform the Prime Minister about this immediately? Why did he wait eight days?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I was first informed about the detention of prisoners and the mission within 24 hours of when it actually occurred. At that point in time, I was travelling in Mexico City on government business. I waited until my return so I could further explore the full extent of the mission that was involved.

Upon receiving all the necessary information, and particularly last Friday seeing for the first time the photograph which turned out to be related to that mission, I then informed the Prime Minister and cabinet on Tuesday morning.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, apparently Mexico does not have any phones because he could have picked up the phone and called the Prime Minister.

Things do not add up here. We are supposed to have 50 Canadians at central command headquarters in Florida agreeing to Canadian participation in missions. Who do they report to?

Is the Minister of National Defence not the Minister of National Defence they report to, national defence headquarters or is it Donald Rumsfeld at the Pentagon? Will the minister table today the significant incident report of eight or so days ago that states Canadians took prisoners?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I receive briefings on a daily basis. Much of the information comes from the command centre in Tampa, Florida through Commodore Thiffault and his staff. It goes to the chief of defence staff and then it comes to me that same day.

The chain of command has acted properly. They have acted quickly and efficiently in providing all information.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Canadian Alliance Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the daily La Presse reports that our embassy in Tunisia is delivering visas to young Tunisians without even having met them. No security checks or financial audits are conducted.

Could the minister confirm whether these allegations are true?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bourassa Québec

Liberal

Denis Coderre LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question. As I said yesterday, I have requested a report from the deputy minister.

This being said, the hon. member should know that the project in question was launched in early 1999 and ended on August 31, 2000. Therefore, this project no longer exists.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Canadian Alliance Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is completely unacceptable to Canadians that every time there is a problem with security the government wants to study the problem. Canadians demand more from the government. The government has failed them.

Canadians believe that people coming to Canada with visas have been thoroughly screened. The reports out of Tunisia raise many questions. With over 700,000 people a year travelling to Canada on visas, Canadians want to know if this minister knows how many visa applications have been thoroughly screened.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bourassa Québec

Liberal

Denis Coderre LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I am very disappointed. What kind of state does he want to live in? Does he want a police state? Does he want us to follow everybody? I think we have acted in good faith.

What the member should do is make sure that when people are here they are welcomed. We are putting in place some resources to make sure that everything is kosher.

I will not accept that statement saying that everybody is coming in and maybe some terrorists. It is a disgrace to say that kind of thing.

Official LanguagesOral Question Period

January 30th, 2002 / 2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the minister responsible for official languages said, “The government will continue to analyze carefully any situation and support linguistic minority communities when necessary”.

The minister can quote whatever part of his speech suits him, but will he acknowledge that the real message he is continuing to send to the francophone communities is “If you made less fuss, you would get more money for other things”?

Official LanguagesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Of course not, Mr. Speaker. Moreover, I defy the hon. member to quote a single passage of my speech in which I am supposed to have said that the government intended to pull out of its court ordered responsibilities in respect of language or anything else.

On the contrary, I have indicated that the Government of Canada, like all governments in this country, should follow the liberal and dynamic approach clearly indicated in the jurisprudence on language rights.

Official LanguagesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister has just become another member of the “I never said that” club.

He can say whatever he wants but can he deny that he is involved in a shameful blackmailing of the francophone communities in Canada by telling them “Quit making a fuss and you will get more money”?

Official LanguagesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I have issued a challenge to the hon. member, with no response. This just proves he is trying to put words in my mouth.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, a former immigration official has said that department higher ups overruled frontline workers who wanted to detain 150 young Tunisian men who arrived in Canada a year and a half ago. He said “after interrogating them and discovering that they were not real tourists, we wanted to detain them, but the bosses said no, let them go, so we let them go”.

Why is the department not listening to frontline immigration officials who are clearly more concerned about public security than this minister?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bourassa Québec

Liberal

Denis Coderre LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, let me be clear. I am the minister for immigration not minister of immigration. What we have to send as a message here is that before saying anything I will check the facts. I asked my deputy minister to give me some facts, some reports. When the facts are ready, do not worry, I will tell the House what happened.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, how much time does the minister need? This happened a year and a half ago. Surely someone in his department must know about it. If they do not, it is time for a housecleaning.

Why is this minister covering up an issue? Why is he stonewalling on an issue that is vital to our national security?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bourassa Québec

Liberal

Denis Coderre LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I can tell the member that I will not use that kind of water to make that kind of cleaning.

The one thing that is clear is that we have improved the system. We made sure that we put in more resources. However, I will not make any statement after reading a piece of paper like they are doing when they are preparing for question period. When I am ready I will give the facts .

Airline SecurityOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Nancy Karetak-Lindell Liberal Nunavut, NU

Mr. Speaker, we all understand the requirement for increased security at airports as a result of the tragedy of September 11. We also understand that these measures will be paid through an air security charge. However, it is very difficult to ask northern travellers to bear the cost of services not available in all but one of the Arctic airports in my riding.

How will the Minister of Finance protect northerners from these added costs? Is he prepared to reconsider the charges in the north?

Airline SecurityOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my colleague, the Minister of Transport, and myself, I would first like to congratulate the member for Nunavut and the entire northern caucus for their very hard work on this issue.

In that context, I am very pleased to confirm that the charge will not be applied to direct flights to or from the smaller and remote airports that make up the vast majority of the airports in the north.

Airline SecurityOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Canadian Alliance Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, let me tell the transport minister about the $24 fee at a big airport, Pearson airport.

In Ontario, 57% of the price of a pack of cigarettes is taxes. This is a deliberate government policy designed to discourage smoking. With the new $24 air travel security fee, 59% of the ticket on some flights will be taxes, fees and charges.

If a 57% tax stops people from smoking, what will a 59% tax do to people trying to fly?

Airline SecurityOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that September 11 changed a number of things. As a result of that, the government brought down a national security package totalling $7.5 billion. It is understandable that the vast majority of that should be paid for by the general taxpaying public in the country.

However, in the case of the air security charge, it should be borne by those who are the primary users of that service, and that is what we have in fact done.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the softwood lumber crisis and the economic downturn are having the predictable impact at employment centres. The demand has jumped 15% to 17% in the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean, in the eastern townships, in Shawinigan and in central and eastern Quebec.

Last fall the Minister of Human Resources Development had plenty of time to allocate the necessary resources to meet this demand but she did not act.

Will she reassure us today that unemployed people will be receiving their cheques on time in order to provide for their families?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, ensuring that those who are eligible for employment insurance have access to their benefits in a timely fashion has to be a priority for the government. That is why in response to the softening of the economy and post-September 11 we increased staff, reallocated staff and increased overtime specifically to deal with the increase in employment insurance claims.

In the province of Quebec, where we had a backlog of over 8,000 at the end of September, we have now reduced it to just over 1,700. By the middle of the month we anticipate having the backlog cleared.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deborah Grey Canadian Alliance Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, the defence minister admitted a few moments ago in the House version three of this whole prisoner of war story. He said that within 24 hours he learned of what actually happened with our JTF2 task force.

The scary part here is that this story has changed daily. Evidently the Prime Minister said that he did not know for one full week about this going on.

There are different stories here and the question is this. Did the Prime Minister know about it and, if so, why are so many different stories being told?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

3 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I said quite clearly yesterday that I saw the photograph for the first time on Friday. I also made it clear that I was checking for further information because I had been away at the time on government business and had just returned.

It was also quite clear that they were operating within policy. Government policy is something that had been fully discussed with respect to the fact that international law must be followed by our troops. Canadian law must be followed by our troops.

As I indicated to the committees on foreign affairs and defence two weeks ago, any detainees would be handed over to the United States in accordance with the Geneva Convention.

Research and DevelopmentOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of HRDC.

The government indicated in its December 2001 budget and in its throne speech its commitment to promoting the social development agenda in Canada.

Since our government recognizes the importance of social research and developing social policies, what is the government planning to do to ensure that this research is promoted throughout Canada and the world?